[ilds] "Deus Loci"

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 21 15:05:28 PDT 2009


I've just acquired a signed copy, unnumbered, of the privately printed  
edition, 200 copies, of Durrell's "Deus Loci" (Ischia, 1950).  Three  
things:

1.  Durrell signed it in what looks like blue-green ink, possibly  
aquamarine, but that's had to determine because of the age.  This  
makes me think of the "green ink" references in the Quartet and  
elsewhere.

2.  The poem has an epigraph which is not included in The Tree of  
Idleness (London 1955), where the poem first appears in public, so to  
speak, nor in his Collected Poems (New York 1960, 1980).

	The epigraph:  "era nel tempo cuando Filomena . . . "

The unattributed fragment is from Luigi Pulci's Morgante Maggiore  
(First Canto, third stanza).  My translation of the Italian (please  
correct, if wrong), of which I know next to nothing but which I base  
on my little Latin:  "It was in the time when Philomela . . . "   
Philomela, of course, is the nightingale, which eventually becomes  
Keats's nightingale.  In my ignorance, I've never heard of Pulci, a  
Renaissance poet from Florence, and I wonder how Durrell came across  
him.  Byron did a translation of Morgante Maggiore in 1823, now  
probably located somewhere in his complete works; maybe that's the  
source, but I haven't checked it out.  Or, perhaps Durrell learned  
about the poem on Ischia, in 1950, when he and Eve visited the  
island.  Why was the epigraph dropped?  Maybe Ray Morrison could  
answer that.

3.  Did Morrison ever publish his excellent essay on "Deus Loci," a  
version of which he read at OMG, Victoria, BC, 2006?


Bruce
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